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Open AccessArticle

Accuracy of a Semi-Quantitative Ultrasound Method to Determine Liver Fat Infiltration in Early Adulthood

1
Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile 783490, Chile
2
Division of Child Development and Community Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
3
Servicio de Gastroenterología, Clínica Santa María, Santiago de Chile 7520378, Chile
4
Servicio de Radiología e Imagenología, Clínica Santa María, Santiago de Chile 7520378, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diagnostics 2020, 10(6), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics10060431
Received: 2 June 2020 / Revised: 11 June 2020 / Accepted: 15 June 2020 / Published: 25 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Imaging)
An inexpensive and simple method to determine non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the abdominal ultrasound, but there are still doubts about its accuracy. We assessed the precision of a semi-quantitative ultrasound method to determine liver fat infiltration, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) as the reference. The study was conducted in youths from an ongoing cohort study. Clinical validation was performed, using receiver operating characteristic analysis, in n = 60 participants (22.6y; 50% males). Abdominal ultrasound was carried out with liver brightness (score 0–3), diaphragm attenuation (0–2) and liver vessel blurring (0–1) scored by two observers. Liver fat was estimated using MRS. Then, analytical validation was conducted in the remaining participants (n = 555; 22.7y; 51% males) using effects size estimates. An ultrasound score ≥4.0 had the highest sensitivity (78%) and specificity (85%) for NAFLD diagnosis. An area under the curve of 86% denotes a good diagnostic performance of the test, whereas a Kappa of 0.63 suggests substantial agreement of ultrasound vs. MRS. The analytical validation showed that participants having NAFLD according to ultrasound had an unhealthier cardiometabolic profile than participants without the condition. Abdominal ultrasound, combined with a semi-quantitative score system, is a reliable method to determine liver fat infiltration in young adults and should be encouraged whenever MRS is unavailable. View Full-Text
Keywords: fatty liver; ultrasound; validity assessment; cardiometabolic risk; obesity fatty liver; ultrasound; validity assessment; cardiometabolic risk; obesity
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Ibacahe, C.; Correa-Burrows, P.; Burrows, R.; Barrera, G.; Kim, E.; Hirsch, S.; Jofré, B.; Blanco, E.; Gahagan, S.; Bunout, D. Accuracy of a Semi-Quantitative Ultrasound Method to Determine Liver Fat Infiltration in Early Adulthood. Diagnostics 2020, 10, 431.

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